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Bidalasana, or Cat Pose, at an outdoor yoga event
The counter-posture, Bitilasana, or Cow Pose

Bidalasana (Sanskrit: बिडालासन; IAST: biḍālāsana) or Marjariasana (Sanskrit: मार्जरीआसन; IAST: mārjārīāsana), both meaning Cat Pose in Sanskrit, is a kneeling asana in modern yoga as exercise.[1] A variant with one leg held up is Vyaghrasana (Sanskrit: व्याघ्रासन; IAST: vyaghrāsana), Tiger Pose; a similar variant with one leg held straight out is Chakravakasana (Sanskrit: चक्रवाकासन; IAST: cakravākāsana), Sunbird Pose. A variant with the back lowered is Bitilasana (Sanskrit: बितिलासन; IAST: bitilāsana), Cow Pose; this is often used as the counter-posture, and a widely used exercise is to alternate between Cat and Cow Poses repeatedly.

Etymology and origins[edit]

The name Bidalasana, बिडालासन, is from the Sanskrit बिडाल, biḍāl, meaning "cat", and "āsana" meaning "posture" or "seat".[2] The alternative name Marjariasana (also written Marjaryasana), मार्जरीआसन, is similarly from मार्जरी, mārjārī, also meaning "cat".[3] A similar pose was described in Niels Bukh's early 20th century Danish text Primary Gymnastics as "prone-kneeling position",[4] which in turn was derived from a 19th-century Scandinavian tradition of gymnastics.[5]

A different asana, Marjarottanasana, meaning upside-down cat stretch pose, is illustrated in the 19th century Sritattvanidhi.[6]

A pose named Vyaghrasana or tiger pose is listed but not described in the 17th century Hatha Ratnavali.[7]


The practitioner kneels on all fours and slowly raises and lowers the back, transitioning in a gentle vinyasa between Cat and Cow Poses, and exercising the core muscles that support the spine.[8]

The pose is considered in Sivananda Yoga to be suitable for use during pregnancy.[9][2]


Chakravakasana, Sunbird Pose, with straight leg

In variations of the pose, one leg is stretched out straight, and the knee of the stretched out leg may then be bent so the foot points straight up; the opposite hand may also be stretched out in Vyaghrasana, Tiger Pose[10][11] The similar Chakravakasana, Sunbird Pose, has the leg and arm stretched out straight, horizontally.[12]

Cat Pose is often alternated with Bitilasana, Cow Pose, where the belly and back are lowered and the hips and shoulders remain unmoved.[13]


  1. ^ Anon (28 August 2007). "Cat Pose - Marjaryasana". Yoga Journal.
  2. ^ a b Holstein, Barbara B. (1988). Shaping Up for a Healthy Pregnancy. Life Enhancement Publications. p. 76. ISBN 978-0-87322-926-5.
  3. ^ "Cat Pose". Yoga Journal. 7 January 2019 [2007].
  4. ^ Bukh, Niels (2010) [1924]. Primary Gymnastics. Tufts Press. p. 42. ISBN 978-1446527351.
  5. ^ Singleton, Mark (4 February 2011). "The Ancient & Modern Roots of Yoga". Yoga Journal.
  6. ^ Sjoman, Norman E. (1999) [1996]. The Yoga Tradition of the Mysore Palace. Abhinav Publications. pp. 81 and plate 14 (pose 82). ISBN 81-7017-389-2.
  7. ^ Srinivasa, Narinder (2002). Gharote, M. L.; Devnath, Parimal; Jha, Vijay Kant (eds.). Hatha Ratnavali Srinivasayogi | A Treatise On Hathayoga (1 ed.). The Lonavla Yoga Institute. pp. 98–122 asanas listed, Figures of asanas in unnumbered pages between pages 153 and 154, asanas named but not described in text listed on pages 157–159. ISBN 81-901176-96.
  8. ^ Schiffmann, Erich (2013). Yoga The Spirit And Practice Of Moving Into Stillness. Simon and Schuster. pp. 89–94. ISBN 978-1-4767-3562-7.
  9. ^ Lidell, Lucy; The Sivananda Yoga Centre (1983). The book of yoga. Ebury. p. 166. ISBN 978-0-85223-297-2. OCLC 12457963.
  10. ^ "Vyaghrasana – Tiger Pose". Pranayoga. 27 July 2014. Retrieved 4 February 2019.
  11. ^ "Vyaghrasana: The Tiger". Yoga in Daily Life. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  12. ^ "Sunbird Pose". Yogapedia. Retrieved 4 August 2022.
  13. ^ "Cow Pose". Yoga Journal. 7 January 2019. Retrieved 27 April 2019.